Economists Predict Increased Job Growth for Nevada - 8 News NOW

Economists Predict Increased Job Growth for Nevada

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LAS VEGAS --  Some of the state's brightest minds in economics met Friday to discuss the Silver State's long road to recovery. Much of that recovery is dependant on thousands of jobs.

The State of Nevada Economic Forum met in Las Vegas. The forum is where economists give some insight into the state's economic future. The meeting involves a lot of number crunching and charts and can be dry at times, but the topics are of great importance to Nevadans.

Economist Leanndra Copeland with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation says more Nevadans are finding work.

"2013 marks our third year of recovery, and about one-quarter of the jobs have returned."

The year is expected to close with 5,500 more jobs in the professional and business services sector. Construction is also on the rebound, with 5,000 more jobs. Leisure and hospitality has grown by 4,400 jobs.

"Nevada still has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. I think we'll lose that distinction in 2014 given our job growth rankings," Copeland said.

State economists predict 23,000 new jobs will be added in 2013 and another 26,000 in 2014. They say that number will grow to 30,000 news jobs in 2015.

The economic forum also looked at the Affordable Care Act which will impact a lot of Nevadans.

"We will see a slight increase in premiums just like you do, every year," said Jon Hager, the executive director of the Silver State Health Exchange.

He says out of an estimated 600,000 uninsured in Nevada, around 4,800 have confirmed health plan selections. The health exchange predicts 118,000 Nevadans will be enrolled by March 31. He addressed concerns about health insurance sticker shock.

"There are stories all over the place about how much premiums are going to increase and how horrible it is, but I don't think that those stories are necessarily accurate or based on really valid samples," Hager said.

The Silver State Health Exchange website has had almost 4.5 million hits and the enrollment is almost doubling every two weeks.

Another area that will impact Nevadans in the coming year is gas prices. The price will be increasing about a dime a day for the average driver. That money will be used for road improvements.

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